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Offhand

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  • Offhand is the standard spelling of the adjective describing things that are (1) improvised, or (2) performed without preparation. It is a single word with no hyphen. Offhanded, off-hand, and off-handed all appear fairly often, but each can be replaced with the shorter, simpler offhand. And while offhanded is a superfluous form, offhandedly is the adverb corresponding to offhand—though offhand often functions adverbially  on its own.

    Examples

    As an adjective

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    Even his heavy political statements are delivered with an offhand charm. [Arizona Republic]

    Such an offhand comment has made royal watchers fear for the health of the bride-to-be. [Scottish Daily Record]

    It was an offhand hyperbolic comment on Twitter from Washington Post columnist Ezra Klein. [Sydney Morning Herald]

    Offhand and offhandedly as adverbs

    I offhandedly mentioned this, and his eyes widened. [Wall Street Journal]

    Tollett didn’t say offhand how many checkpoints there would be. [Los Angeles Times]

    By 1939, a New York restaurant guide recommended, rather offhandedly, a “Mixed Fish Soup Marinara Sauce.” [Independent]

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